Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Mauro Carniel, William Schmarzo, Mehdi Daoudi, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

It Takes a Village: The Rise of Crowd-Powered IT Services By @Exoprise | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

We are in the early stages of a fundamental change in the roles and responsibilities of business IT

It Takes a Village: The Rise of Crowd-Powered IT Services

When was the last time you went to your favorite office superstore to buy a piece of packaged software?

Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud storage have completely changed the consumer computing market. Other than Microsoft Office and a few resource-intensive applications for photo and video editing, everything else is either running in the cloud, delivered and managed from the cloud, or storing data in the cloud.

Business Computing Is Next
The same trend is coming to enterprise IT. While many organizations have moved their packaged software to IaaS providers like AWS and Azure, many more will simply adopt pure SaaS offerings. These new services align with user and organizational demands, and their pay-as-you-go pricing model fits current business budgeting and purchasing needs. They also get IT departments out of the costly business of building, maintaining, and securing datacenters.

The question for IT teams is how to manage and maintain app service levels for users when everything about cloud-based apps is shared. The datacenter it runs in; the servers, storage, databases; the ISP networks delivering the apps. Almost all of the service delivery chain, except for a little bit behind the company firewall, is shared by their organization and lots of other companies using the app. There's no "one butt to kick" if there are problems in that shared infrastructure. Rather, there are many - multiple app and network providers - so finding the right one to kick is itself a big challenge, which can result in lengthy outages and poor user experience.

It Takes a Village
With all these stakeholders, application service level management is no longer about "me." It's about "we." And because cloud apps and services are inherently global, distributed, and shared, so too should the task of monitoring. By recognizing this and adopting tools and practices optimized to these characteristics, IT can not only address the challenges of managing cloud-based apps but actually open up opportunities to increase its value and relevance to the business.

Three technology trends are fundamental to this transformation: Crowd Sourcing, Real-time Collaboration, and Big Data Analytics.

Crowd Sourcing
A tremendous amount of the software being used in enterprises today is a result of crowd sourcing. By enabling hundreds or even thousands of developers to simultaneously work on a piece of software, crowd sourcing, like Open Source, speeds development and improves quality. Wikipedia, Kickstarter, and even CAPTCHA and Duolingo are all examples of the power of crowds in action.

The common theme in all of the above is the ability to quickly solve problems by dividing them up and distributing them to a large, unmanaged group of individuals. Why not empower IT teams to do the same? As a user of Salesforce.com, for example, I'm inherently part of the global user community. It would be great if I could easily harness the power of that community, both passively (e.g., obtaining real user performance data from other customers) and actively (e.g., leveraging the crowd to globally test a DNS entry). This would allow me to scale my IT operational capacity as limitlessly as the cloud scales my compute and storage capacity.

Real-time Collaboration
To be effective though, this collaboration with the crowd needs to be done in real-time. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have conditioned us to expect instantaneous many-to-many communication in our personal lives, and this is pervading computing in the business as well. Microsoft's Project Oslo, which blends Office, SharePoint, and Yammer, is a great example of where things are heading.

However, real-time collaboration isn't just about tagging and text messaging. IT, in particular, needs real-time data collaboration with the crowd as well. In financial markets, stock exchanges provide this type of real-time data for securities, and investors (perhaps too readily) make decisions based on this data. In many ways, IT is becoming a cloud app broker for the business, and like their financial counterparts, IT can better serve its customers when it has this type of real-time crowd data access.

Big Data Analytics
Big data analytics and business intelligence solutions have become essential tools for many financial, sales, and marketing organizations. Collecting the data is important, but the real value comes from deriving actionable intelligence from it. IT will increasingly need to employ these types of solutions to help it detect, pinpoint, and resolve service delivery issues based on the real-time crowd data it collects. Splunk has been a leader in this for traditional on-premise applications, but more solutions like this are needed in the cloud.

The Rise of Crowd-Powered IT
With easy exchange of performance and configuration data by the crowd, IT teams will have the ability to take much of the guesswork out of their management of cloud-based apps. Looking for best practices in deploying Workday? Don't wait for an analyst whitepaper. Query and analyze real data from the crowd of other Workday customers. Wondering what the impact will be for a change in your ADFS configuration? Run a hypothetical analysis against the data. IT decisions can be made more quickly and with greater confidence.

We are in the early stages of a fundamental change in the roles and responsibilities of business IT, brought about by the irresistible benefits of cloud based apps and services. This transformation will be as profound as the changes brought on by desktop computing, server virtualization, or tablets. There are numerous challenges along the way, but as new tools and practices evolve, IT teams will find themselves able to support and accelerate business objectives in ways unimaginable before the cloud.

Should be fun to watch and participate.

More Stories By Patrick Carey

Patrick Carey is vice president of product management and marketing for Exoprise, a provider of cloud-based monitoring and enablement solutions for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. He spends his free time thinking about how companies can get to the cloud faster and stay there longer.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
Vulnerability management is vital for large companies that need to secure containers across thousands of hosts, but many struggle to understand how exposed they are when they discover a new high security vulnerability. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, John Morello, CTO of Twistlock, addressed this pressing concern by introducing the concept of the “Vulnerability Risk Tree API,” which brings all the data together in a simple REST endpoint, allowing companies to easily grasp the severity of the ...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
"NetApp is known as a data management leader but we do a lot more than just data management on-prem with the data centers of our customers. We're also big in the hybrid cloud," explained Wes Talbert, Principal Architect at NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"We're focused on how to get some of the attributes that you would expect from an Amazon, Azure, Google, and doing that on-prem. We believe today that you can actually get those types of things done with certain architectures available in the market today," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.